Watch the vast flow of US arms exports over 6 decades (VIDEO)

Published time: 17 Jul, 2018 14:17

Watch the vast flow of US arms exports over 6 decades (VIDEO)

A stunning timelapse video demonstrates the massive flow of US weapons exports across the globe over the last 67 years, revealing some surprising recipients in a video that’s going viral.

Using data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Transfers Database, which tracks the movement of major conventional weapons, data scientist Will Geary created the jaw-dropping data visualization which depicts a heavy deluge of US weapons flying across the globe from 1950 to 2017.


America is the world’s largest weapons exporter. I was curious to see what this looks like over time, so I mapped the flows of arms transfers leaving the U.S. from 1950 to 2017. The data comes from @SIPRIorg ‘s Arms Transfers Database. Full video here:


The US is the world’s biggest arms exporter. In the 1950s, the majority of US arms went to Europe, Canada, Japan and Turkey. In the 1960s, Germany appeared to receive the largest amount of weapons, with Iran joining the list of recipients. Iran’s receipt of US weapons reached an all-time high in the 1970s, right up to the fall of the US-backed Shah and the Iranian Revolution in 1979, making Iran the biggest receiver of weapons that decade. Israel climbed to second on the list of recipients in the 1970s.

Meanwhile, Japan saw the greatest amount of arms in the 1980s, followed by Saudi Arabia and then Israel and Egypt. This was largely repeated in the 1990s, while in the 2000s, South Korea and Israel took the greatest slice of the US arms pie. From 2010, Saudi Arabia received the greatest number of weapons, with Australia next in line.

After the US, Russia, France, Germany and China provide the greatest number of arms exports. Between 2013 and 2017, the US accounted for 34 percent of total arms exports, an increase of 25 percent from its exports between 2008-2012.

“Based on deals signed during the Obama administration, US arms deliveries in 2013–17 reached their highest level since the late 1990s,” said Dr Aude Fleurant, director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. “These deals and further major contracts signed in 2017 will ensure that the USA remains the largest arms exporter in the coming years.”



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